Here are a few warm up activities you can use in class to get your Japanese students ready for another English class.

I teach English in one of the worst schools - notorious in my prefecture - and criss-cross gets groans every time. Yet as soon as we start the kids are on board and ready to play. As long as you remember why you are doing the warm up, the following warm up games and activities should serve you well.

Junior high warm ups for anytime 

Hot Potato - Pass the Eraser

Students have to think of something to say (usually within a previously studied grammar point). Once they say something, they pass the eraser. After 30 seconds, the timer goes off and whoever still has the eraser is the loser.

See the hot potato eraser passing game fully explained.


A.K.A. tate-yoko (たてよこ) - is a simple game of answering questions. Everyone standing, you ask a simple question. Whoever answers gets to sit down, as well as the row or column they are sitting in. Whether it is the row or column is up to the student that answered (although expect the class to yell out "suggestions").

See some more variations of criss-cross.

Parachute game

Challengers from each team try to translate to Japanese or write in English the word/phrase you call out from the back. The winner cuts lines on other teams parachute.

See the parachute game page for details.

Guess the number

This game might be a bit easy and almost a waste of time for some junior high students but for others, numbers still don't come easily. Also, it's a warm up - a transition and a short period of time to get the students' brains into English mode.

See the guess the number game page for details.

Last-first-letter word chain a.k.a. shiritori

Write a word on the board. The last letter of that word becomes the first letter of the next word.

Here is how to play the shiritori game.

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